The One With The Secret Sunroom

Are you (or were you) a fan of Friends? That’s probably the most-watched sitcom in our home. I’m pretty sure that Matt and I have watched the entire series no fewer than 10 times, but probably more.

Anyway, if you’re a fan of Friends, you might remember the episode called “The One With The Secret Closet” where Chandler realizes that there’s a closet in Monica’s apartment that he’s never noticed or seen inside. He and Joey get the closet open only to realize that Monica, who’s known for being a very clean and tidy person to the extreme, has a dark secret — an incredibly messy closet stuffed from top to bottom with junk that’s piled in there as tight as it can fit. There’s no organization to it. It’s just an “open and shove” situation.

Well, I have a situation like that, except that mine is beyond just a closet. Mine is a room that measures just under 32 feet by 13 feet.

This room has gotten so bad that there are literally two trails through the room — one going to the right from the music room doors where I can get to my big toolbox, and one going to the left where I can get to the washer and dryer. Beyond those two trails, there’s nowhere to walk. And it’s gotten so bad that now, there’s nowhere else to store stuff.

I know I’ve said this before, but I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder. I don’t have any problem at all getting rid of stuff. I have no emotional attachment to things.

My problem is simply one of time. It’s so much easier (at least for a period of time) to open the door to the sunroom, shove something in there, and walk away, telling myself that I’ll find time to take care of it later. But then that later never comes. And the next thing I know, I’ve got a 400-square-foot storage room stuffed with junk and items that I’ll never use again, and with nothing but a tiny trail through it.

So why am I telling y’all this?

Because Matt has asked me to take the next few days, have a dumpster delivered, and take care of the sunroom, as well as all of the construction debris that has accumulated over the last year-and-a-half (basically since June of 2021, or since I started working on the bathroom) in the carport and in Cooper’s fenced-in yard.

When he asked me to do that this week, I said, “What? This week? Do you realize how close that bathroom is to being finished?” I mean, I basically have some trim to finish on one wall, accent tile to install around the wainscoting, and a door to paint. Then the whole thing just needs to be cleaned, and then accessorized to make it finished and pretty.

But he was unmoved by my plea to let me finish the bathroom first. When something has already taken over a year, he really doesn’t see that extending it another week is going to make a huge difference. But what he does see is that the current state of the sunroom and the carport is beginning to affect our daily lives and peace of mind.

The sunroom is where my tools are. And with the condition it’s in, I have a very hard time finding things I need to find. And while I’ve kept a path for Matt through the carport so he can get to the van, the pile of construction debris is starting to encroach on that path. Plus, just this past week, I piled a bunch of Amazon boxes by the back door thinking I would get them cut down this past weekend and taken to the recycle center, but then I forgot and got sidetracked working on the bathroom until late into the night. So he couldn’t get out the back door to the ramp for us to go to church yesterday morning because there’s a mountain of boxes there.

So he asked me to take the next few days and get things back to a livable state in these areas. And I’m totally fine with that. I’m disappointed, because I’m so anxious to finish that bathroom and it’s so unbelievably close!!! But I’m also a bit giddy about the idea of having a dumpster delivered and getting these other areas completely cleared out and organized.

Plus, I have another big pile of construction debris in Cooper’s fenced-in yard that has been accumulating for a year now, and y’all have seen the state of the home gym, which has been my workroom (i.e., where I have my saw and other tools) that I’ve used to build and cut things for the bathroom remodel right next to it. It’ll be nice to have the dumpster here so that all of that can get cleared out as well.

So how bad is the sunroom? I’ll show you. And it will be the most humiliating thing I’ve ever shown in my blog before…and that’s saying a lot.

But first, I feel the need to show you that the main areas of my house are relatively clean and tidy. I got up just this morning and took some snapshots of how things looked, and I didn’t take any time to clean and put away first. This is how things looked when I got up this morning.

The sitting room is relatively clean and tidy, but I do need to dust the shelves in there. They’re pretty dusty.

The kitchen is pretty clean, although I do have a few dishes in the sink and some crumbs on the countertop.

I also have two bags of trash sitting there that should have been taken out last night, but I forgot. Still, not too bad.

The living room looks pretty good, except for a box in the corner from a furniture and pet vacuum that I unboxed this weekend. I put the vacuum away, but forgot about the box.

The entryway has two boxes from packages that arrived this weekend, and one of them I’m still in the process of unboxing.

The hallway looks pretty good except for some things on the floor that the Eufy isn’t picking up, for some reason.

And the bathroom is pretty clean.

So please keep that in mind when I show you my most humiliating situation in the sunroom. The areas of the house where we actually live are fine. They’re not perfect, but they’re not terrible.

And here is where it all goes wrong. Here’s what lies behind those music room doors.

The most humiliating thing is that it’s so bad that you can’t even tell that there are trails through there. In the pictures, it looks like there’s nowhere to walk at all. There is, but it’s pretty tight.

It’s just stuff piled on stuff piled on stuff. And yes, even our old yellow piano is back there.

And if that weren’t bad enough, here’s the carport, with the construction stuff piling up.

And the boxes. We can’t forget about the boxes. Cardboard boxes are the bane of my existence. We order so much online, and the boxes take over so quickly, and before I know it, they’re totally out of control and taking over our house.

Anyway, I know that so many of you will be disappointed about the bathroom. I’m disappointed as well. But I’d rather disappoint y’all (and myself) than disappoint my husband. He’s been suggesting that I do this for quite a while now (as in, at least three months), and finally this weekend, he went from suggesting to insisting.

I mean, I hate to even say that, because someone reading about him for the first time in this post might get the impression that’s he’s a controlling person, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. He has graciously and patiently put up with me and my messes for 20 years now, and he’s the most easy-going person ever.

If he could do this himself, he would. If he were an able-bodied person, he’d spend his days cleaning up after me, and he’d just let me be as happy as I could be, creating, building, and making my messes all day long while he follows after and cleans up.

But he can’t. And I understand that that can be very frustrating for him. So I’m going to take the next few days, and I’m going to do this (which means that I might not be on the blog much in the next few days). It’ll give us both peace of mind, and then I can get back to my projects.



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  1. Sending you a digital hug, gal! I know how you feel, and I’m going to be sitting over here cheering for you!!!

    (Maybe you need a home-sized cardboard baler to help with the boxes! 🤣)

  2. OH, my craft room/office somedays looks exactly like your problem areas. UGH. It is where things go when I can’t figure what to do with them, or I’m not ready to use them. Makes it hard to even use the room! It’s even harder when you can’t use a dumpster to clean…I wish I could, but everything is new or ready to use…just have no time right now. It might be a great project right now for you…get away from the bathroom, and make lots of progress on two or three out of control areas. And just think of the SMILE on Matts face when he sees it! I know by taking the time for this it will be a relief for BOTH of you. Enjoy!

  3. Ok so what do I love more that renovation??? A mess to clean situation! This is my favorit thing to watch!! Before and after pictures PLEASE! OHHH! You are the blog that has everything I love! Lol.
    Sheila F.

    1. I agree with Sheila – The blog that has it all! LOL! I’ll be here cheering you on and looking forward to seeing the after photos!

  4. Before I even saw the pictures, I knew if Matt was putting in a request then things are probably needing some attention! It happens to all of us.

    1. I was thinking the same! If easy-going Matt is putting his foot down, it MUST be bad! LOL You will also feel so much better when it is cleared out, Kristi. Just put on a Dana K. White audiobook and get to going (that’s what I always do!)

  5. Matt is the best of the best, and you know that. It is why you understand his insistence. God bless you both dear lady 😊

  6. You and I are vastly different in many ways and soooo alike in others, lol. Our sunroom is my toss-it-and-forget-it space for the extra ‘overflow’ from our small home. Empty boxes piled in our screened patio area are an issue as well. I keep our house in decent shape but feel edgy and self conscious when our schedule gets too hectic or when we’re too focused on a particular project and the chaos starts swirling. I, for one, enthusiastically applaud this post. Whether you realize it or not, your super duper DIY skills and fearless approach to your renovation projects are intimidating as hell. You’re human. What a relief, lol.

  7. Oh Kristi, I won’t show you our “junk room” downstairs next to the den – and the adjoining bathroom AND laundry. We have to go through it to do laundry and there’s just a small path to walk through…. the garage is starting get cluttered again…. So, I hear you and I feel you. Wish we all had magic wands to make the mess disappear and keep ALL the things we wanted and like with out overflowing…. Like Cas from clutter bug says, it has to fit in the container. You can’t have more than fits in the container (any kind of container) or else it will not look or feel tidy. Sigh! I also need to do what you’re going to do. We’ll both feel better when we’re done. Can’t wait to see your results!

  8. Bless your heart. And I mean that in the very best way. You’ll feel such a weight off your shoulders when this is done!

  9. As you reveal your debris, you say, “This is where it all goes wrong.” No, Kristi, this is where it all goes right! You are showing us the inevitable chaos in the wake of pushing forward. Remodeling ain’t for sissies. Wear that tool belt with pride.

  10. Honestly, I find the outdoors to be worse than the junk sunroom, but that’s just me. And I get it, you’re essentially one person doing everything. Plus Matt can get out now so I think making time for that supersedes tossing boxes.
    Well, put some jammin music on and get to it! You’ll feel accomplished afterwards.

  11. I laughed when I saw the sunroom. I have areas a bit like that. So we are in the same club. I also live in the country, so I have old buildings filling up!

  12. Good for you, Kristi! Sometimes just tackling those “horrible” projects can bring peace and contentment to one’s life!

  13. You are brave. And real. And when you are finished, could you come over and clean out my basement and my sewing room? Lol. You are NEVER the only one! Good luck with your projects. I’ll be here for the bathroom reveal.

  14. You are absolutely, positively the best person I “know” online, Kristi! That mess will be gone before you know it and the gold shine around your heart will be even brighter!! Wish I were there to help…..

  15. Oh, Kristi, I don’t know whether to laugh or not with the messes you have to clean up, but I think laughing is the more productive choice. All that mess just means you’ve been BUSY! And your box collection looks a whole lot like mine – I mean, they’re all good boxes, right? But thanks for sharing your dilemma with us. It makes you seem more like a real person instead of a DIY Goddess. As for Matt’s insistence, good gracious, he’s been more than patient, but when it comes to his not being able to get out of the house, I can understand his desire to have it all cleaned up. It will be so good to have all the stuff de-cluttered and organized, and once that’s done and you get back to finishing the master bathroom, just think how great that will feel! GEAUX, Kristi, GEAUX Kristi!

  16. This was hilarious. I love the way your blog post builds up the anticipation to the actual reveal of the messy areas, which really didn’t look too bad considering all the renovation you’ve achieved in the past few years! I just see it as something you didn’t have time to get to, with regular life, being a caretaker, designing, carpentry and photographing! Good for you listening to your hubby. You are such a sweet couple.

  17. Great job for seeing it and it’s not bad if you are willing to work for it. Again I’d iterate before and after because these are spaces you live with. Sometimes half the project is the management of “stuff” and shoving it doesn’t finish it. Also it doesn’t have to be perfectly organized it never is for long if you are using it. It’s a space that needs constant adjustment.

    Later if you do want to organize,
    An extra outdoor thing I think would be good is a cardboard/recycling/trash station. A weather protected area you can sort and with dedicated storage for the tools necessary. When something’s full then you take care of it. Sometimes it’s the lack of a sharp knife that stops me from handling the box. Or the space to cut it up. Not sure if it’ll work as well as the kitchen organizing. We have a weekly pickup so if my recycling bin isn’t full I hunt down stuff to fill it if I got time.

    1. Yep – the easiest way to contain cardboard is to break it down flat. Choose one of the big boxes and use it to hold other flattened ones. I’m lucky of course – I live in a jurisdiction that has recycling pickup every week. Still, some weeks I have a lot of cardboard.

      My basement looked a lot like your sunroom for years. There was the stuff my ex and I put there when building renovating, then there was all the stuff he left behind after he left, the stuff I just had no place else for … it was out of sight and out of mind aside from the few minutes every day that I had to deal with cat litter.

      I finally called one of those junk services and had it cleared out – what a relief. You will feel that too once your mess has been dealt with.

  18. Yes, we all have those places! The word I keyed on most is “boxes.” My solution is to keep a small box cutter in several places in my home. It takes discipline to complete the job but it’s kind of like the de-clutter tip of only touching a piece of paper once. In other words, decide where it goes and do it rather than deal with it twice. Boxes are huge!
    Looking forward to seeing the organized sunroom and the ongoing bath project. Both will give you a lot of satisfaction.

  19. Everyone has a closet or room that gets to a boiling point. I love these photos because I love a clean out/up situation. I’ve said it over and over 😐, if you have a plan in place the potential of it ending up like this again are less. A SECOND or two putting things back will prevent you from spending a entire day on it later! And stopping your momentum on a project😕
    Get yourself some rolling shelving units and organize your things. You could even roll them to the area your working, less back and forth. How much time wasted looking for that tool or item you need?!? If you can find a mail cart or two (the kind they use at the post office) those would be great for cardboard or garbage(Or even a very large cardboard box and large garbage can with bag in it) and/or things to donate. Or at the least a dedicated area for each of those things.
    To break down your cardboard just step inside the box and donkey kick😆 less time then finding a knife and cutting them up- I used to be a merchandiser
    Think beyond just getting this room cleared out to “how can I help myself so it doesn’t get this bad next time”. Doesn’t need to be perfect, just a little thought.

  20. Don’t forget to get a before pic of Cooper’s area! This way you have all the areas documented for your after pics of success!

    Everyone has some area they consider white noise for junk to live!

  21. Yes by all means take a few days to clean this mess up. 🙂 This was a delightful post to read. We thought you were wonder woman….and here you are just like the rest of us. And believe me we all have places like this around our homes. And by all means please your husband. If he got to the place of insisting then he has had the thoughts for sometime. We will still be here waiting for the reveal when you are finished with this bathroom. And don’t forget to rest your back during all this cleanup because it looks as if you will need to use it a lot. 🙂

  22. No worries, Rome wasn’t built in a day and the construction wasn’t cleaned up in a day either. Enjoy your life and give yourself a break when you need it. Life is short.

  23. I hope you donate or have a yard sale. You have all of nice stuff in that room, it’s not all trash. Please show us a picture of the room when you are done.

    1. Me, too. I see some stuff in that room that could be treasure to someone in need. Maybe put the good stuff aside and offer to give it to a church thrift store or Salvation Army store. What is your junk is another’s treasure!

  24. You’ve heard the expression “Many hands make light work.” It definitely applies to solving this problem. You need help to do this. Lots of help. Invite friends with the promise of a pizza party. Or hire some HS or College football player types to help you move and carry. It will be worth every penny it costs. This is a VERY big job and you really shouldn’t do it yourself. It’s too much. Lots of luck. You are amazing and it will get done.

  25. The most beautiful feeling I get from your blog is how much you and your husband love each other. NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT than that.

  26. I have a very similar room. I told my husband we each need to spend 5 minutes a day going thru the part of the room closest to the door so we can purge. Once we get into the groove of going there, the hope is we’ll tolerate being in there for longer periods and actually get it finished before winter arrives. We can hope!

  27. You are NOT alone! I wish I were Bewitch or I Dream of Jennie all the time! It’s not the lack of desire to clean & maintain it that way. It is the utter disgust of letting it get that way that upsets me and the fact that some of it I should keep & repurpose. I have NO storage for “maybe later”! Keep the dumpster for at least a month.

  28. Oh, Lord have mercy girl! That will take more than a few days and I can see why he is, at the point of insisting. It really gathers up fast, then it becomes overwhelming.

  29. Once in a while a forced nudge is good for us. Your wedding pictures –love your honesty in sharing the reality. You have limited where the ‘trouble” spots are as the rest of the house looks great. I have been where you are at when projects are going on, and it always feels good to stop get it organized and cleaned up. Looking forward to the after pictures and the completion of your master bath. BTW you need toilet paper and the faucet is running in that bathroom 😉

    1. Haha! The toilet paper is taken care of, and I was wondering if anyone would notice the faucet. 😀 Every single morning, my cat Felicity comes into the bathroom, jumps onto the countertop, and yells at me until I turn the water on so that she can drink straight from the faucet. It’s our little morning ritual.

  30. OH MY WORD!!! You are human!!!! Yes, you have some messy rooms, but I was impressed with the rooms you are living in and, yes, looked pretty good. I’ve too much stuff and will be listing on etsy, etc, but I become overwhelmed sometimes, like the last three days. I finally have some order, but I have visitors coming so talk about an incentive. Not finding tools is my biggest pet peeve, so I work hard to keep those things in order. I enjoy the real life in your blog and your hubby is a sweetie.

  31. If I had a space as big as that, it would look like that! My husband once suggested that we have a home with no horizontal places to put stuff. Haha. Please do post after the clean-up. If it’s not motivating at least I’ll get vicarious pleasure!

  32. I love seeing photos of before and after cleanup jobs. It gives me motivation to clean out my “junk”
    areas. I do hope you post some photos for us.

  33. Most people have a junk room. My office doubles as my jewelry box and smalls makeover/paint room. When I’m on a roll painting, it gets really bad. And mail and other things pile up on my desk. You have nothing to be ashamed about…all of us have our messes. But choosing your husband’s wishes in this case is a very good thing and you will be so happy with the results. You will feel more creative and more focused when you come back to your projects. We can’t wait to see the results of your organizing. Have fun…it will feel great!

  34. I’m with Matt. It is time, past time, to get this done. You will feel so much better and so will Matt. I have a buffet that was my grandmother’s grandmother’s and it needs a little TLC. If you would have any use for it, perhaps in your sewing room, I would gladly give it to you. I want it to go to a good home where it will be loved. It isn’t in bad shape, just some work on the drawers and a refinished job.

    1. I have to laugh at this Lauranette! Offering Kristi yet ANOTHER thing to hoard? I’m thinking of what the drug dealer says to the addict! Misery loves company. Don’t enable her weakness!

  35. Welcome to my world! I have a 30 x 15 sun porch where the cats like to live. AND where I have been stashing stuff for my new house for the past year. Fortunately the cats can’t complain and they LOVE all the boxes. I just spend 2 days trying to find all the plumbing fixtures since the plumber came today. And, of course, one of the shower set-ups is damaged and I have to replace it. The soft furnishings are stashed in my spare bedrooms. I also have a 40 ft Hi-Top cargo container in the back yard, a mobile home 80 x 16 and a 2400 sq ft steel bldg. Kristie, you don’t have a mess! I have a mess!
    I was recycling boxes since the dumpster is about 2 miles from my house but my body said No More! So now I flatten then and the Sanitation company picks them up. Don’t have to cut them at all.
    Can you get a friend or relative to help you? Much easier with 2 people and you have somebody to talk to if Matt doesn’t want to supervise! BTW, there is also a dumpster in my backyard for the new house! Wish I lived closer!

  36. Wow, Kristi, I love how you keep it so real and honest. I totally understand how this type of situation happens because I’m in a similar boat! So kudos to Matt for calling for the dumpster. And somehow I didn’t realize your laundry was still in the sunroom – I guess I just don’t want to think about laundry so have ignored your specific floorplans 🙂 Anyway, I’m sending you energy to get it done, then you can come over to my house to coach me!!

  37. Give yourself some grace! No need AT ALL to feel humiliated. We all have things we need to work on. For example, I have a 2200 square-foot basement (only one room is finished square footage) that is utterly and completely filled with crap that we said we would “deal with later.” Maybe your clearing out will help motivate me!

    1. In addition to dealing with problem areas, the cool thing about doing dumpster work now is that it won’t be hanging over your head once the bathroom is finished. That probably means you’ll have a pretty good place to store your tools when the bathroom is done. And imagine how much you’ll enjoy that first soak in the tub without the burden of decluttering weighing on you!

      Wish I were nearby to assist. I don’t mind that sort of work (when someone else is making decisions).

      Good luck!

  38. It’s not like I am going to add anything brilliant to what the others have posted. But I will add just a bit; it appears you CAN handle a jumbled mess, for sure. This is what I want to add: I feel you are not respecting the work all around you that you HAVE done in your home already. It seems like you are not validating the work you DO do, with such great mastery to boot. Get the dumpster. Matt is 100% right and he does live there too. He doesn’t seem to ask for much. Not only are you disrespecting YOUR work, you are disrespecting Matt’s place in your home as well. Leave the bathroom for now- that will be your reward, to fluff and spruce and polish and shine.. Organize your tools together and move them to the workroom where you can FIND them when you need them. . Respect your tools- they allow you to do your magic. Put like things together so they are easier to find. Get real about what your future plans are for all the “still good stuff your gonna do ‘someday’ “. There will always be another project you’ll start and that stuff in the workroom will continue to sit there waiting for its turn. You ARE a hoarder. You have to face that you have a problem with letting things go. Watch the tv show and listen to the professional help that guide the hoarder to a solution. That’s you. If there is ONE thing that you have an excuse to keep, it is a thousand. God forbid something happens to you! You are leaving this for Matt and your family to deal with? Not fair, and no 2 ways around it. If you never picked up a hammer again it looks like you have enough projects in your head, we have heard them, When do you actually start ENJOYING the fruits of your labor? Like when you got the van and started living- there’s a whole new world out there =, right in the work you’ve already done. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You know we are all right.

    1. Oh dear lord! Are you for real lady? Speak for your yourself when you say “you know we are all right” You don’t speak for me and how dare you come off as trying to speak for anyone besides yourself!! Your attitude is pure nasty and not helpful in any way shape or form. You have NO freaking clue.

    2. I am Kristi’s mom. I know what her life is like. She is not a hoarder. Her problem is that there are only 24 hours in a day, and she has to try to cram 36 hours’ worth of work into them. She has to earn a living and she does that by working on projects, taking pictures of her work, and writing detailed blogs. All that is more than a full-time job in itself.

      Kristi also has all the usual responsibilities, like housekeeping, meals, shopping, vehicle maintenance, etc.

      There are people whose full-time job is caring for someone in Matt’s condition, and yet Kristi does a very good job of that, too. At any time while working on her projects she may have to stop everything to do something for Matt.

      Kristi doesn’t have paid vacation or sick pay. If she is not working and blogging her income drops. She is an amazing person. I would think that even if she were not my daughter. And through it all, she stays amazingly upbeat. I’m very proud of her.

    3. Joanne, you do realize that nothing but Pure Fandom is going to fly around here, right? I do plenty of DIY along with my other responsibilities in life and I NEVER do more than I can clean up after at the end of the day. And that fan who admires her love for Matt, well, I kind of think he could have had a bathroom and a van many many re-dos ago.

      Guess we’ll both be banned forever.

      1. Banned? Why in the world would I ban you?! It’s such a rare occasion for the rest of us poor schmucks to have the immense privilege of being in the virtual presence of one as perfect as you think you are — a person so perfect that she can sit atop her high horse, the radiant light of her pure perfection illuminating all of the lazy slobs on whom she can look down her nose, comforted and satisfied with her knowledge that she’s superior to every single one of them. No, I could never delete or ban such greatness. What a rare treat it is for all of us regular people that you would even consider lowering yourself, if only for a moment, so that you could grace us with your presence. But of course, not without leaving a parting gift of your comment just to remind us all of how inferior we are to your perfection. But again, we should thank you. Your presence is gift enough for us. Your perfect presence.

      2. Doing construction work that takes days and weeks is NOT something you put away your often very heavy tools for every day. She’s building a freaking bathroom, not a picture frame! Setting up tools and getting them away could take an hour, which is a completely ridiculous waste of time. And effort (hello, heavy stuff?). Imagine building a wall and every night carrying back outside any leftover bricks; then carrying them back inside in the morning to continue!

        But what pisses me off is your comment about Matt. He is PHYSICALLY disabled, not mentally. He is still a human being with thoughts and feelings and opinions that he is able to express and Kristi seems to respect, because when he is actually bugged by something, she stops immediately whatever she’s doing and accommodates. He is also perfectly capable of coming here and telling you off himself (which he has done in the past), so please excuse me Matt if you happen to be reading this. I’m not trying to speak in your place; you don’t need that. I’m just annoyed when I see disabled people being treated as if they don’t exist (I got my own issues).

        And btw, the reason they didn’t get a van “many re-dos ago”? Because every time Kristi proposed it, MATT shut it down. So they could have gotten a van ages ago if Kristi forced her opinion on Matt. But they didn’t get a van because Matt’s opinion overrode Kristi’s. Process this.

        Oh, and before you jump to the exception rule of “lalala, not listening because you are Pure Fandom so your opinion is biased”, I have often disagreed with what Kristi does, though I only state it if it’s potentially useful; otherwise I don’t feel the need of wasting my time typing just to feel superior.

        You know, like a person with lots of responsibilities and better things to do does. Rant over (I have wasted enough time).

    4. A hoarder is someone who can’t stand the thought of parting with stuff – even trash. They want them, they freak out at the thought of other people taking them away from them. Hoarding is an emotional problem.

      A person who can’t stand extraneous stuff around them is the opposite of a hoarder. And what such a person will do, if they don’t have the time or strength to properly deal with the extra stuff, is stash them away to avoid looking at them. Which is what Kristi does. This is a practical, there’s-only-so-many-hours-in-the-day problem. Not an emotional one (though it can cause serious stress, because YOU FREAKING WANT THAT CRAP GONE BUT CAN’T DEAL WITH IT)!

      A hoarder does not rent a dumpster by themselves – they resist any people trying to do so for them. And btw, if someone were to go there and break down those cardboard boxes and toss out the extra stuff Kristi would be throwing a party, not freaking out.

    5. hi Joanne,
      I think that, in a certain type of way, you did mean well, but it seems that your viewpoint is based on some type of moral value placed on having a really tidy home at all times. I grew up with a mom who did not work, but she was so busy with all of her activities/ friendships outside the house that our home was never tidy. Having a home-cooked dinner on the table every single night was important to her, but not having a floor clean enough to eat off of, if you know what I mean. I work full time, and have no problem at all welcoming neighbors into my house if they need to borrow something and my home is a disaster. I just don’t care. I clean up if company is coming over, and I like my rooms to be relatively tidy, but I don’t think it’s important to keep my home spotless, and my family hates it if I get upset about messes.

  39. You are not alone! I follow prettyhandygirl and she was recently complaining about her messy garage and some other room in her house that I don’t remember. She has spent the last two weeks cleaning and organizing, building storage drawers and shelving, etc. I myself need to dump a ton of clothes, since covid caused me to gain weight. I can’t get much more in my closet or dresser, shoes are out of control too! I want to also get rid of at least two totes of home decor fabric that I got when my job was ending due to the store closing! Thought I would use them when our house was finished, but changed my mind in the decor by the time it was done! One thing I always do is to break down the boxes as soon as I empty them. If I get a good sized box, I then stuff the broken down ones into the big one. Then it goes out to the curb for the truck every week!

  40. You are not alone! I follow prettyhandygirl and she was recently complaining about her messy garage and some other room in her house that I don’t remember. She has spent the last two weeks cleaning and organizing, building storage drawers and shelving, etc. I myself need to dump a ton of clothes, since covid caused me to gain weight. I can’t get much more in my closet or dresser, shoes are out of control too! I want to also get rid of at least two totes of home decor fabric that I got when my job was ending due to the store closing! Thought I would use them when our house was finished, but changed my mind in the decor by the time it was done! One thing I always do is to break down the boxes as soon as I empty them. If I get a good sized box, I then stuff the broken down ones into the big one. Then it goes out to the curb for the truck every week! I’ll get to mine as soon as my tendon swelling goes down in my hand. Right now I type with a brace on.

  41. Kristi.
    What you are calling ‘tidy’ looks perfect. What you are referring to as ‘humiliating’ looks like temporary holding areas you’ve created because you’ve been very, very busy creating a beautiful showcase home.
    It’s nice to please your husband. So do that. But know that those ‘holding areas’ will eventually be just as beautiful and as tidy as what you have already created. Have a blessed day.

  42. As someone who can get quite giddy at the delivery of a dumpster, I ask that you please share progress pictures! (Eventually. I understand how hard it can be to stop midstream)

  43. LOL! Thank you for sharing this! It makes me feel so much better about my house. Everyone always says how open and airy and uncluttered our house is. Yeah — don’t look in the basement storage rooms. They would give your room a run for it’s money. Enjoy the decluttering — I bet it will free up all sorts of creativity and productivity for you!

  44. It will be so nice to get all of the unwanted items out of your house. Maybe you could arrange a pick up from Habitat or Goodwill so the big items could bless someone else.

  45. Good for you for tackling this necessary but unexciting huge project. I’m glad Matt expressed his opinion and influenced your pathway. I also struggle with this but on a smaller scale. Unfortunately my husband’s stroke left him unaware of his surroundings and he is unaware of my chaos.

  46. I am so glad to see you are human like the rest of us! I am so impressed that you can do all this construction work, AND have time to share on your web page all you have done!!

  47. Your biggest job yet! Don’t feel alone. I have a storage room running neck and neck with yours. And my garage… Don’t make me cry. And I will if I think about it. You should feel amazing when you get this job done!

  48. Ah, it’s so nice to see that you do have this side you. That could be our garage/back yard with all the project scraps that might come in handy later. Recently, we build to some raised garden beds that I miscalculated on and now are large & deep enough to hide several bodies in each (4’x8’x3′). We’ve begun tossing all the wood scraps and cardboard in the bottom to take up space before filling them with mulch & dirt. One option for the boxes, maybe going forward, is to cut them down to only one long piece and lay them out in a single layer in the yard to choke out weeds & grass in areas you may want to use later for a garden, walkway or planting beds. Top them with mulch and you’ll have really fertile soil within a year after they break down.

    1. This is a good idea and really works! I’m currently collecting cardboard for a 1000 square foot butterfly garden. Luckily, it is all flattened and stacked in my gardening shed. It does take some time and energy to lay it out and get it mulched, but typically only a couple hours. Now is a good time to do it as it will have all winter to sit and breakdown.

  49. Bwahaha that is impressive!! I so feel you! But, as you pointed out, most of it will be easily handled and you will feel so good about it when it is whittled down. Good luck! Now to do something about my messes. . .

  50. The good thing about this plan is the carrot at the end of the stick…. Finishing the bathroom! I think everyone has junk piled somewhere, in a drawer, closet, spare room, attic, garage, etc. Give yourself some well-deserved grace!

  51. Dear Kristi, I feel badly that you use the word “humiliated” when you describe this room. You have done more renovation and construction than some house builders have; of course there is a tag pile. Construction zones have them, why shouldn’t you? The rooms you show are clean and tidy and just beautiful; one or two tag piles doesn’t take away an iota from that. You do more work in a months than many accomplish in a lifetime; please cut yourself some slack. You will get rid of the contents and you will do a great job of it. Please know just how much of an inspiration you are to so many of us. You will find your way to do this and it will work for you.

  52. Appreciate the post! Do you know of any neighbor kids who could break down boxes for you a couple times a week? Kids too young to be employed would love to earn some $ that way…

  53. Well…I too put stuff to the side when I am working on a project, I wish I could work differently but that has been my style for a long time. I know that once you clear out the room you will feel better. the carport just looks like the debris left after remodeling. Don’t be so hard on yourself, your house looks wonderful, and will look even better after the Dumpster leaves!

  54. You know, to me, this is what marriage is about; having a second person to support you, keep you grounded, warn you when you are starting to get lost in something and miss the big picture. Matt seems to always be doing that for you. And yes, I can imagine him feeling strongly about having his newfound freedom threatened, by some cardboard boxes, of all things! I’m sure you will feel much better when this is all cleaned up, it does seem to stress you!

    I also remember you looking for organisation solutions for your tools and stuff; hadn’t you built some wheeled mini-bench/drawers or something? Or was that for your saw in particular? I don’t quite remember, but did that work? Also, do you think something like this would work for you?

  55. Yes I can see Matt’s point. Have fun filling the dumpster and good for you!
    Where do you and Matt eat since you don’t have a table anymore?

  56. Kristi, your home is beautiful. I absolutely love your kitchen cabinets. The color is Amazing! When the secret room is all cleaned out, you’ll have another space to DECORATE!